Cross-Channel Holiday Promotions

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

It's that time of year again. Mailboxes are stuffed full of holiday catalogs and direct mail pieces. When I was a kid, I loved looking through the Christmas catalogs, circling all of the toys I wanted Santa to bring me. But now I rarely even open them before putting them in the trash. The good news is, I don't have to open them. Many retailers are offering customers additional opportunities to engage and shop right from the back of the catalogs.

Toms offers both a QR code and an incentive to shop online:

Bath and Body Works offers both online and in-store discount codes:

Athleta invites customers into their stores by offering fitness classes, free hemming and styling and BOPIS:

Cremieux invited customers in-store for a happy hour:

giggle advertised their website, stores and shopping apps:

And Chukar Cherries sent me an order form that included the names and addresses of the people I shipped gift baskets to last holiday season. Talk about convenient!

Customers don't shop in a single channel and it's up to the retailers to provide different shopping options and to make the transition seamless.

Speaking of options, I received these two emails recently and they really caught my attention.

Philosophy encourages customers to shop on TV during its QVC broadcast:

And giggle sent a Mobile Monday email offering a discount for customers shopping in its app:

As you can see, there isn't one right way to encourage customers to shop. All you  have to do is provide options and let your customers shop in the channel that is most convenient for them this holiday season.

Let’s Get Phigital: The State of In-Store Technology

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn. This is the first in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City.

1 City, 2 Days, 16 people, 32 Stores.

I spent the last two days living out every fashion and retail-lovers in New York City. I went on this shopping trip with 15 Listrak colleagues, including members of our executive team, account managers, developers and other marketing team members. Our goal was to try out the technology and in-store experiences many flagship stores are beginning to offer in order to gain first-hand knowledge.

The technology we saw included magic mirrors, holograms, virtual reality, iBeacons, touchscreens – and there was even robotic luggage storage in our hotel.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more details of our trip and go more in-depth on the retailers we visited and the experiences we had, but I wanted to share some of our best and most exciting findings now.

Magic Mirrors
If you haven’t seen the awesomeness of a magic mirror yet, plan a trip to Polo Ralph Lauren on 5th Ave or the Rebecca Minkoff store in Soho immediately! This is truly the future of retail as they not only enhanced the shopping experience by making it both faster and easier for shoppers to find what they want and checkout but it ties in both mobile and email acquisition points as well. I wanted to note that the staff in both stores was exceptional. It seems that the mirrors give the employees the opportunity to really interact with the customers on a more personal level.

Another useful shopping tool available in many of the stores were touchscreens and iPads that let you explore merchandise, read product reviews and interact digitally. The best ones included a call-to-action to let the shopper sign up for text or email messages. New Balance had two different digital experiences. The first let shoppers customize their own sneakers:

And the second scanned the customer’s feet in order to help them find the best fitting sneakers while allowing customers to email themselves the results. 

Warby Parker has its famous photo booth in store, which provided a lot of fun for the shoppers as well as an acquisition point for the retailer. But that wasn’t the only camera we experienced. Sephora took a photo and then emailed directions on the best way to apply contouring makeup:

And Lego added a cool hologram to the screen when you held up a product in front of it. The hologram was animated and provided a lot fun for the shoppers, but it lacked an acquisition point or additional product information. It was strictly for fun and it really did enhance the shopping experience!

Mobile Integration
We made sure to download each retailer’s app before our shopping trip and the outcome was mixed as connectivity was an issue. One outstanding example was Urban Outfitters where we received a push notification as we were checking out their vinyl.

However, in many cases we tried scanning merchandise to learn more about the products just to be told the products weren’t in stock or we’d just be taken to the product page of the retailer’s site.

Key Takeaways
Retailers, don’t add technology just for the sake of technology. If it doesn’t enhance the shopping experience, don’t bother. Technology that takes away from a buyer’s experience is worthless. However, technology that helps customers connect with you in new ways while helping them explore new products and leading to a faster checkout is definitely worth the investment.

Also, the shopper journey is all about engaging customers in multiple channels and making the experience seamless as shoppers move from the store to your site to their email or mobile device. The channels should not only support each other - think using email to drive traffic to your stores or acquiring email subscribers and mobile numbers in store - but they should all work together to help the customer find and purchase merchandise no matter where they're shopping.

We'll cover this in more detail as the series continues, but let us know if you have any specific questions in the comment section.

Would You Date Your Welcome Series?

by Laurel Morse
As Manager of Copywriting and Content Strategy for our Professional Services department, I've created, received, and reviewed many (many) welcome emails throughout my career, for brands in and out of the eComm realm. I’ve formed some pretty strong opinions by melding my personal take-aways with the research that other email industry leaders have conducted, and I’ll share my recommendations with you throughout this series. Without further ado...

I had a revelation the other day while chatting with a wonderful client (thanks, Heather – you know who you are) and was able to see this tried-and-true concept in a brand new way: a welcome series campaign is a lot like your first couple dates with someone new. You can begin to lay a strong foundation right there with a few smart moves or ruin it with a few often-made missteps. Hear me out.

When you go on a first date, think about how you’d act. Would you blurt everything out at once? Would you walk up, give a little polite hug, and whisper in their ear where you went to school, what your job is, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, that you don’t really get along with your parents all that well, that your cat Dwight is your best friend, and that in the next year you want to be married with a baby (named either Caroline or Jack, after your grandparents)?

Not a chance. I mean you could, but please don’t. So why do we dump this kind of overwhelming word-vomit on a brand new subscriber? How is that any different?

Take it easy. Be cool. Let it out in a trickle, not a tidal wave.

Instead of bombarding someone with BUY BUY BUY! when they hardly know you, try thinking of what you’d write if you had to create an online dating profile for your business. What would you say to make someone interested in you? And at what point in the relationship would you like someone to see that side of you? Send a series of welcome messages that are carefully crafted to let this content slowly drip out and build up the relationship. Don’t say too many things at once.

And remember – when writing your messages, brevity is key. People don’t read (they skim) and you have about 3 seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention. Use your message’s real estate wisely to pique someone’s interest in you and bait them back to your site to build the relationship.

See for yourself – which email welcome message is most appealing to you? In this first example, the messaging is based around the subscriber – sort of like asking your date a lot of questions to get to know them:

In this second example, it's all about the retailer. While I typically love this brand's emails, they're coming on a little strong here:

The layout is nice and it's easy to scroll through, but it's a lot of information up front and it lacks any personalization for the subscriber. Welcome messages have some of the highest open rates, so use that to learn more about each customer instead of just talking about yourself.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.